The most interesting new entrant in this year’s Rich List is dual Chinese-Australian citizen Dr Shi Zhengrong. The
44-year-old made his debut on the List with a staggering wealth of $3 billion
(which placed him in 4th spot on the list, between cardboard baron
Richard Pratt and apartment builder Harry Triguboff). Shi’s wealth is derived
from his 46% stake in Suntech Power Holdings, which is listed on the New York
Stock Exchange. Shi remains Chairman and CEO of Suntech. According to Forbes:

Power Holdings designs, develops and manufacturers photovoltaic, or PV, cells.
The company began operations in May 2002, and its short operating history makes
it impossible to gauge long-term prospects. Photon International magazine, a
trade publication, says the company is one of the top ten makers of photovoltaic
cells in the world based on output.

Suntech Power cells are sold for residential, commercial,
industrial and public-utility use in
Europe and the
US. The
company says it has increased its manufacturing capacity 12 times in about three
years, and that its cells are more efficient than some of its

Admittedly there is a bit of blue sky in the market valuation of Suntech, with the
listed company valued at US$4 billion despite only recording sales of US$226
million last year. Forbes also noted that “Suntech
Power Holdings’ planned initial public offering may be iffy for the long term, despite
what looks like a solid opening.”

It also seems like BRW were a little lazy valuing Shi’s wealth, simply adopting
Forbes‘ $US2.2 billion figure from March (which comes out to around AUD$3
billion). However, according to Suntech’s prospectus, Shi beneficially owns
46.14% of Suntech (or 67 million shares), which would be worth AUD$2.4 billion
based on recent share price movements. Nevertheless, that would still place Shi
at number 5 on the Rich List.

is amazing the lack of publicity given to Shi given his amazing and very public
wealth through ownership of a company listed on the world’s largest and most
famous stock exchange (Forbes ranked Shi as the richest man living in
While The
and The Smage mentioned Shi’s name in passing after he
made it onto Forbes‘ Rich List in March, a Google search on Shi produces
virtually no profiles in the Australian media. Although one suspects that now he
is unofficially the fourth richest Australian, we may be hearing a little more
about Shi.